The year is 1994. Riding off the high of The Death of Superman and Knightfall, DC Comics was on a roll with creating Younger and Hipper heroes and Anti Hero Substitutes, but weren't happy that fans had (rightfully) caught on that the four pretender Supermen and Azbats weren't replacing the real Superman and Batman. So, they decided to really pull a fast one.
During the third act of Reign of the Supermen, Mongul and the Cyborg Superman eradicated Hal Jordan's hometown of Coast City. Hal, who was away in space at the time, would find the monstrous Engine City in its place, burst in, beat Mongul to a pulp and aided the returned Superman in shutting down the city and the Cyborg. But, it wasn't enough. Feeling empty, he used his Power Ring to recreate his hometown and everyone in it. The Guardians of the Universe, however, caught wind of this and sought to punish Hal for misusing his power. Going over the edge since the Guardians wouldn't even let him have a construction of his old life, Hal decided to seek out ultimate power, and his rampage would take the Green Lantern Corps with him.
This story saw the complete and utter demolishing of the Green Lantern Corps (it had been done previously after Crisis on Infinite Earths, but it didn't stick) and taking everything that was Hal Jordan's legacy with him as he was transformed into the villainous Parallax and saw it replaced with Kyle Rayner, who became last of the Green Lanterns. Guy Gardner, who had his own title at the time, was also affected as his own Green Lantern connections were severed and he was cast into the world of retcons. Hal Jordan would stay a villain, causing Zero Hour: Crisis in Time! but performing a Heroic Sacrifice in Final Night, bonding with The Spectre and ultimately returning to life and restoring the Corps with Green Lantern: Rebirth.
Emerald Twilight contains examples of:
- Batman Grabs a Gun: Hal is so angry that he warns Sinestro that, if he does not go away, he would kill him. And he really meant it.
- Curbstomp Battle: The Guardians sent several Lanterns to stop Hal from reaching Oa. Blinded by rage, Hal cuts through all of them, takes their rings, and leaves them for dead.
- Despair Event Horizon:
- For Hal, it's the destruction of Coast City, though the refusal of the Guardian who appears after his ring runs out of power to even acknowledge Hal's grief seems to be what finally causes Hal to cross the line.
- For the Guardians, seeing Hal's rampage taking out the Corps forces the Guardians to free Sinestro to face him.
- Especially Zoidberg: Hal can not believe that those damned Guardians sent even Kilowog against him. Kilowog corrected him: they sent especially him.
- Fallen Hero: The story is about Hal's fall from grace into villainy.
- Face–Heel Turn: Hal Jordan, the irony of which Sinestro takes especial delight in pointing out. For the most part, Hal's too far gone and angry to realise it, though he does have a brief moment of My God, What Have I Done? after killing Kilowog.
- Foreshadowing: At the very end of the issue before the storyline begins, Olivia Reynolds checks her Green Lantern toy samples and notes that "GL Number One lost his head!" And the Sinestro figure is grinning ominously.
- The Gods Must Be Lazy: The almighty Guardians of the Universe, who just forty issues earlier had been capable of completely draining a Green Lantern ring of energy and of wielding the power of the planet Oa in order to maintain the Mosaic World composed of dozens of biospheres, are suddenly incapable of stopping Hal Jordan's rampage. He accuses them of being "impotent shams". While the Guardians prefer to let the Corps do the work of policing the universe, they've always been willing to act when a big enough threat appeared... until this story required them not to act, so the desired dramatic outcome could be reached.
- I Should Have Done This Years Ago: Said by Hal right before getting ready to kill Sinestro. Sinestro says, "You know, you probably should ha—" before getting Killed Mid-Sentence.
- Killed Off for Real: Sinestro and Kilowog... until retcons changed their status, of course.
- Last of His Kind: By the end of the saga, Kyle Rayner would be the last Green Lantern while Ganthet would be the last Guardian.
- Mood Whiplash: Whoo-boy. The book goes from Hal finding the remains of Coast City, to a happy-go-lucky team-up with Green Arrow to this.
- Narrator All Along: Who is narrating the fights between Hal Jordan and the other Green Lanterns? The narrator reveals himself at the end of the issue. He is Sinestro.
- Neck Snap: The way Hal Jordan finally killed Sinestro.
- Nothing Is the Same Anymore: By the time issue 50 is done, the old Green Lantern mythos is destroyed as the Green Lantern Corps and the Guardians of the Universe are no more, paired down to one man of each.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: When the Guardians refuse to give him the power to recreate Coast City (or even acknowledge his grief at all), Hal snaps. The Lanterns sent by the Guardians to intercept this rampage did not fare well.
- Sanity Slippage: Hal's already well into one by the start of the storyline, best shown by the conversation he has with his 'father'. Seeing as its actually a construct Hal's making and controlling, Hal's dad's comments do not indicate a stable mind on Hal's part. He completely jumps off the slippery slope when the Guardians threaten to take away his ring.
- Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Hal's entire motivation once he starts towards Oa is to get enough power to undo the destruction of Coast City and all the deaths that Mongul caused. He's driven to change the past, and no one is going to stop him. Of course, once he actually gets the power he's looking for, he gets bigger ideas... Zero Hour: Crisis in Time!.
- Slasher Smile: Hal has a pretty impressive one on the cover to issue #49, as he shows the collected rings of the Green Lantern Corps.
- Shut Up, Hannibal!: Sinestro is always game for a good villain gloat. Hal Jordan has no patience for him right now.
- Start of Darkness: This is the story of how Hal Jordan became the villain Parallax.
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Jordan resurrecting Coast City as ring constructs is treated as a sign of his fading mental stability, despite Kilowog having done this exact trick with his entire race and being lauded as a hero.